A wealth of information lurks in the success (or failures) of the Other Guy.
Here are some ways you can improve your own content marketing results using competitor research tools and tips:
See What’s Popular
Your competitors are working in the same industry as you are, or so I assume. So they have the same audience that you do. This gives you an immediate view on what your audience is looking to read about, watch, view, or listen to.
It doesn’t take a lot to figure out what’s popular with your target demographic. Peek at what is trending on their site(s) and social media profile(s). Make a list of content that has gotten a lot of traffic, views, social media shares, and comments.
From there, you can develop a content strategy that follows the same general idea. Take a note of:
- Why your competitor has started a blog
- How they are using influencer outreach
- If they are doing any contests or digital assets, etc.
Discover Where Competitors Are Lacking
In addition to seeing what they are doing right, you can see what they are doing wrong. I distinctly remember this competing podcast of a client I was working for. They released this video series connected to their show, but not really a part of it. The first couple got a decent number of hits, but then they got next to no views.
Wondering what the issue was, I did a quick viewing of all of their videos (which they continued to release in spite of the lack of interest from their user base). They were cheesy, badly written, and not close enough to their podcast format to brand it properly. It was a trainwreck, basically.
In addition to this travesty of video, the podcasts were suffering because too much effort was being put into a new form of content that didn’t work.
Guess what the client did? Avoided videos, stuck with the podcast, upped their promotion, and ended up poaching a lot of listeners.
We all know that reputation management is an important part of overall branding. But tracking mentions of your competitors really work wonders, as well. You can keep track of announcements both major and minor, and also see what people are saying about the competition.
I worked for a startup once that setup mention tracking for three other platforms in the same industry, with a similar pat structure to their own. When the founder discovered a blog doing a review for a competitor, they asked them to do one for their own.
In the end, the review compared them to the last review and the startup I worked for came out on top.
Tools For Competitive Research
I mentioned before that you will have better tools at your disposal than asking Rebecca’s teenage sister the secret to her cookie selling success. These are some of those tools, though there is an endless supply of competitor research apps and dashboards out there to choose from.
- Google Alerts – The free option, and my personal favorite. You can create alerts that monitor any mention of your competitors across the web. It includes both social and web page results. I use it to monitor my competitors, my brand, and my industry. You can set your alerts to give you a digest of daily results, or to immediately let you know
- Spyfu – Don’t just monitor your competitors, flat out spy on them! Spyfu is a fun and informative dashboard that uses keyword research, mentions and more to keep track of your competitors. It is a combination of SEO and PPC research, so it applies to content and advertising.
- Compete – I don’t always recommend this tool because it is pretty pricey. But if you are a business with a decent budget, you can seriously improve results using this tool. You will learn a strategy to compete with competition on every level, including your social marketing. It is a very in depth tool full of data, and acts almost like a consulting service with a self service bent. It is an investment, but worth it if you have the cash on hand. Some businesses have reported a conversion improvement of 42% or more… seriously.
Do you have a tip for competitor research to improve content marketing? Know a tool that belongs on the list? Let us know in the comments!
There are a number of factors that are important to consider when trying to solidify your branding recognition and overall PR. But when it comes to your presence on the internet, nothing is quite as important as managing your online reputation. It is more crucial than visibility, social media engagement, or even online sales.
Your image online and how people perceive and so speak about your brand can make or break your brand. If you have a positive online reputation, you will find things like social media campaigning, direct B2C advertising and even overall visibility to be significantly more positive.
How You Maintain Your Online Reputation
A number of avenues exist for managing your reputation on the web. For the most part, the process is straight forward. You can have an active reputation management campaign running within a few hours. A few easy methods include:
- Use a wide variety of tracking tools. The most basic you should be using is Google Alerts. You can sign up to have reports regularly sent to your email every time your brand is mentioned. Other helpful trackers include Brandseye, Rankur, and SocialMention.
- Have a dedicated social media team. If you have an established business, you want to keep up with social media as much as possible. Not just to post regular updates, but to monitor what people are saying about you. If there is a problem you will want to have it taken care of as quickly as possible. But you want to react to praise, as well. If you don’t have employees you can put on this, you might want to hire a freelancer or two that can take care of your profiles.
- Buy your domain name (and similar domains). It is worth it to buy up your closest domain matches to your brand. This is important for reputation management because others can use a similar domain for unsavory things. Even if they use it for legitimate business reasons, you will not have any control over the actions of their company, and it takes away from visibility for your real brand.
- Start better targeting your social media interactions. Not all social media platforms are going to be the right ones for you. Track your data and how much use you have gotten from each. Then narrow down a more specific strategy for not just monitoring, but also find tuning your online presence. Your main beats to choose from will be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. Each provides something different, and knowing which work best for you will help solidify a more impressive strategy.
- Start working that PR. Is there an event going on in your industry that is taking sponsors? A charity that you especially believe in? A scholarship program your community is taking donations for? These are all opportunities. The adage that all publicity is good publicity isn’t true on the web. You want to seek out chances for good PR that you can share socially.
Taking It To a Higher Level (Tools!)
The above tactics are the more basic methods that should start you off. But once you get those underway, you should be turning to more advanced tools and tips for your online reputation management.
- Website security verification is something to start with. It’s not a one-time task, since you need to keep an eye on user security ratings as well.
- Make sure your brand is registered as trusted. People should be able to check you out quickly, and know you are trustworthy and legitimate. There are lots of sites that provide that service (example). A database like LicenseDirect will let you register your company, so people can search out details like verifying credentials, seeing that your professionals are properly licensed, and see a full profile for you or your company that is more official than LinkedIn.
- Social media verification is another step towards higher-quality trust signals.
Do you have any tips for managing your online reputation? Let us know in the comments.
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